The leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports.

Chapter Spotlight: WISE Cleveland

Chapter President’s Corner: Lauren Harris

What inspired you to lead WISE Cleveland?

WISE is the reason for my current career in the sports/events industry. After researching the organization in college, I joined the Cleveland chapter and started to volunteer at events. Through the WISE relationships I built, I secured an internship at the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission that transitioned into a full-time position.

I continued my participation, attending the WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon in New York and serving as a WISE Cleveland board member. WISE opened doors and helped me establish business and personal relationships that are still relevant in my life. When the president position opened, I knew it would be my opportunity to further push the mission and values of WISE to other individuals and allow me to give back to an organization that has done so much for my career.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being chapter president?

Giving back to an organization that has been my sounding board since I entered into the sports/events industry. The position has allowed me to continue to create programming that helps enrich and educate others, connect women who are trying to find their way in the industry with seasoned professionals, and stay current with industry trends and continue to sharpen my skills as a professional.

What's next for WISE Cleveland?

WISE Cleveland is looking to rebrand our events in efforts to increase membership. We want to provide new and unique experiences to our members while combining that with social and networking opportunities. It is important that we also host events in different areas around the city and at different times of the day to ensure that each member has the opportunity to participate.

List three adjectives that best describe WISE Cleveland.

Fresh. Eager. Dynamic.

Chapter Overview

Year Founded


Current Chapter President

Lauren Harris

Founding Chapter President

Paula Grooms

Founding Board Members

Paula Grooms, Jackie Simpson and others

Most Popular Event

Women of Inspiration Awards and Scholarship Reception

Most Interesting/Highly Attended Speaker/Topic

Power Play: Women Who Rock — Behind the Scenes of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Approximate Number of Events Per Year


Event Price Range

Typically, free–$5 for members; $15 on average for nonmembers
Women of Inspiration Awards and Scholarship Reception: $35 members/$45 nonmembers

Average Event Attendance


Do you offer WISE Within?


Do you offer Speed Mentoring Roundtables?


Do you have an annual event exclusive to your chapter?

Yes, we do an annual membership appreciation event, a casual social outing for our members.

Corporate Partners/Sponsors

Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Tiffin University

Women of Inspiration Honorees

  • 2012: Buffy Filippell, founder and president, Teamwork Online
  • 2013: Sherri Foxman, founder, Party 411 Events; Stephanie Tolleson, senior corporate vice president, IMG
  • 2014: Susan Polokoff Shaw, president, Polokoff Communications; Meredith Camp, founder, Meredith Camp Events
  • 2015: Tracy Marek, senior vice president/chief marketing officer, Cleveland Cavaliers; Paula Grooms, executive director, Ingenuity Festival
  • 2016: Mary Beth Pate, executive director of marketing and philanthropy communications, Cleveland Clinic; Julie Work, assistant executive director, National Association of Collegiate Director Athletics; Bonnie Tiell, dean of graduate studies/sports management professor, Tiffin University
  • 2018: Sara Lehrke, vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer, Cleveland Indians; Hallie Yavitch, vice president of event booking, Cleveland Cavaliers

Connect with WISE Cleveland